Biden HHS Reverses Trump: Definition of Sex Includes Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Transgender
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under President Joe Biden, said Monday its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will interpret sexual discrimination in federal healthcare rules to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The announcement reflects a reversal of the decision by HHS under former President Donald Trump’s administration to restore the biology-based, male-female definition of sexual discrimination in federal healthcare regulations.

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement:

The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination.  Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences. It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone – including LGBTQ people – should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.

Transgender HHS Assistant Secretary Rachel (born Richard) Levine added:

The mission of our Department is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. All people need access to healthcare services to fix a broken bone, protect their heart health, and screen for cancer risk. No one should be discriminated against when seeking medical services because of who they are.

As the Associated Press reported regarding the Supreme Court’s June 2020 decision, “The court decided by a 6-3 vote that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against LGBT workers.”

“Consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock and Title IX, beginning today OCR will interpret Section 1557’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity,” HHS stated.

“OCR will follow Supreme Court precedent and federal law, and ensure that the law’s protections extend to those individuals who are discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Robinsue Frohboese, acting OCR director.

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